Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to understand the emotions and the thoughts of others, to predict their behavior and to regulate our own in accord with this.
High emotional intelligence is something that is very much in demand and particularly among businesses. That’s because it predicts an ability to communicate well, to stay calm and to work effectively in a team. It’s also something that many ‘self-help’ books promote, seeing as it helps in relationships in a variety of different ways.
But while the ability to understand and identify emotions is important, it’s really not everything. Read on to see the piece that many people are missing from the puzzle.
There is a correlation between high IQ and high EQ. What this means is that someone who is very intelligent is also more likely to have a better understanding of the inner workings of the minds of others. This appears to make sense until you think of the stereotypical ‘school geek’. It appears that we mostly think of highly intelligent people as being far from persuasive – but instead as being socially awkward. So what’s going on?
The problem may, in fact, be that some highly intelligent people are actually too sensitive to the emotions and thoughts of others to the extent that they end up second-guessing everything they say. Their emotional intelligence is such that they can’t help but see every possible interpretation of their behavior and this leaves them shy and quiet.
On the other hand, a stereotypical ‘jock’ might be blissfully unaware of how their actions might be perceived as brash, self-conscious or aggressive and so they are free to act with confidence.
In other words then, developing EQ on its own is not enough. At the same time, you also need to develop confidence and you need to remember that ultimately you are going to make mistakes but it’s the ability to be firm in your convictions that will give you an air of authority anyway.
This is perhaps the most difficult lesson to learn when developing your emotional intelligence, so how can you strengthen it?
One of the best strategies is actually to practice making an idiot of yourself and saying unpopular things in order to train yourself not to care so much about what others think. Try speaking in a silly accent next time you buy something from a shop, or try asking a stranger for their number. Over time you can learn to lose your self-consciousness and when you combine this with a high EQ, you have a very powerful combination.